Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knowing when not to talk

I've always appreciated silence. I've always appreciated people who know when to talk, and when not to. Conversation need not be simply a constant chatter.
Conversation could be about listening to each other and giving a level of information appropriate to what has been asked. Or what is desired.

Thinking about it now, I wonder whether that is not one of the crucial measures of what makes a conversation work: that the two interlocutors give each other a good amount of information and conversation. I know that my most frustrating conversations are those where I cannot get a good amount from the other person--whether too much or too little.

I had a professor once who said "If you're brilliant, dare to be brief."
I've also heard it suggested that silence can be mistaken for wisdom. At the least, if you don't talk much, you create fewer opportunities to say something stupid. Which is, of course, balanced by the reduction in opportunities to say something wise.

Sometimes it's important to be able to speak and speak well. And to speak with confidence. Feedback is important; communicating and creating connections is important.

In this, too, balance is crucial. We have to know when to talk and when not to talk.

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